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Street Talk

Mississippians Are A Generous Bunch

By Mickey Howley


Last Saturday night the Hendricks Machine Shop building was all lighted up and alive. Water Valley’s Junior Auxiliary hosted their 2013 Masquerade Ball. So if you were dressed well enough to attend, you would have eaten nice meal, heard and danced to fun music, enjoyed good company, and all this in a fine classic commercial building.
The atmosphere was great. While building owner Bill McGregor has done a meticulous job of bringing the Hendricks building back into use, it was the touch of the hardworking JA crew that made the place sparkle last Saturday. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a good party. But good parties don’t just happen, it takes a lot of hard work to pull one off where it’s real fun.
The heart of this party was for a good reason; JA is a service organization and uses funds raised at such events to finance their community service projects. And as the members are all volunteers, the effort to host the party and the energy put into their projects is all pro bono.
You will be asked to go and give to number of fund raising events in the next few months. The Water Valley Arts Council will have its “green” event on March 16. The Relay for Life will be April 26. The Northwest Mississippi region of the American Red Cross is raising funds through their “Heroes” campaign until March 31. What should you do? Well, give some to all. Really. They are all great causes, they all are volunteer based organizations, and they are all non-profit. Should you know what each group does before you give? Sure. Google them and check out what they say they do. Decide how to support, but do support. Because each group—and that is short list of the very wide range of groups—all do good work that benefits this community.
If you look at the national income rankings of states, Mississippi comes in dead last. All 51 Main Street associations in Mississippi, this one included, are working hard on our primary purpose of economic development to change that ranking. If you’re like me, you don’t have to be first, but you sure don’t like being last.
There is one ranking where Mississippians are far from last and that is giving charitable donations.
Mississippi consistently ranks in the very top of all 50 states. Folks speculate any number of reasons why this is so, but my own opinion is that we understand hard luck and hard times better than most.
So whether it is money for helping kids via education projects like JA and the Arts Council or money for medical research like Relay for Life or helping someone get back on their feet after a storm or fire like the Red Cross, Mississippians understand that and help accordingly.
This Saturday night, Feb. 23, at Bozarts a new group of published and professional poets is in Water Valley. The “Trobar Ric” series continues with poets from Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  Starts at 7 p. m., is free to all as always, and local WV poet Wendy Buffington is hosting.

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